North Carolina Prepares for Hurricane

July 3, 2014

Tropical Storm Arthur has strengthened into a hurricane taking aim at North Carolina's Outer Banks, a thin ribbon of barrier islands and popular vacation spot, before the Fourth of July holiday.

Dare County, N.C., officials said a mandatory evacuation of Hatteras Island along the Outer Banks would begin at 5 a.m. Thursday. After that time, no one will be allowed on the island.

Hurricane Arthur has maximum sustained winds of 75 mph and is expected to reach the Outer Banks sometime Thursday night, the Nation Hurricane Center reported.

A voluntary evacuation was announced earlier for the Outer Banks' Ocracoke Island, which is accessible only by ferry.

Officials told residents and out-of-town visitors who already may have arrived for the Fourth of July weekend to evacuate during daylight before the tropical storm brings high winds, rough seas, dangerous rip currents and possible flooding on North Carolina 12. The two-lane highway is the only way on and off the island other than ferries to the south, and twice in recent years, storm-driven waves have rendered the road impassable.

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